Olivier Bernier was born in the United States of French parents and was educated in Paris and at Harvard and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. He is the author of several critically acclaimed histories, including Fireworks at Dusk: Paris in the Thirties; Words of Fire, Deeds of Blood: The Mob, the Monarchy, and the French Revolution; and Louis XIV: A Royal Life. He has also taught art history and is widely acclaimed for his lectures at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Art historian and esteemed lecturer to sold-out audiences at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Olivier Bernier received the Arts & Letters award from the French government. He is a board member of the grant-giving Matisse Foundation, of the School of American Ballet, and of the Center for Khmer Studies. Travel is one of his passions.